Everything you need to know about studying a Masters degree
As a Masters of Art (MA) student at Plymouth College of Art, you will find yourself at the heart of a distinctive, cross-disciplinary community of thinkers and makers within our Postgraduate Centre.
You’ll explore and refine your creative practice by critically engaging with the cultural, technological and economic changes that are shaping our world, with programmes that are structured to encourage debate, exchange and interdisciplinary collaboration.
We understand that before embarking on your postgraduate study journey, you may have a few questions about whether an MA is the right choice for you, how your MA will fit around your life commitments, and how our postgraduate programmes are structured and delivered. We’ve answered some of the most frequently asked questions below.
A Masters degree is a postgraduate university degree, usually studied after an undergraduate Bachelor's degree (although you don’t have to have an undergraduate degree - sometimes if you have professional or industry experience that is relevant to your subject, you could still qualify to study for an MA). The most common types of Masters are the MA (Master of Arts) and the MSc (Master of Science).
A Masters is one type of postgraduate degree (more advanced courses, usually studied by people who already have undergraduate qualifications). Some other types of courses, such as Postgraduate Certificates and Diplomas, aren't full Masters degrees.
A UK Masters degree is worth 180 credits.
A Masters is usually 1-2 years long, dependent on whether you choose to study full-time or part-time.
We will ask you to present a portfolio and a written application statement as part of your application.
MA applicants normally hold a 2:1 or above in a related undergraduate discipline - however, we also accept applications based on equivalent professional knowledge and/or industry experience, so you don’t need to have an undergraduate degree to be accepted onto a postgraduate course.
MFA applicants normally hold a recent MA or 180 Level 7 credits in an art, design, crafts or media discipline, or have equivalent industry or professional experience. Find out more about our MFA.
Get in touch with us to arrange a chat with one of our MA tutors. We’ll be able to give you guidance depending on what your proposed project and interests are; we might suggest attending one of our short courses or our dedicated progression course Making Change; shaping work you already have into a portfolio, or we might be able to accept you without a portfolio. We consider everyone as an individual - that’s why we want to meet you.
We truly value applications from people who are returning to creative study, so whether it’s been two years or twenty, you’ll have gained valuable experience that will lend new perspectives to your work, or may have changed your creative pathway entirely.
While the step from undergraduate to postgraduate study is a significant one, it might not be as sizeable as you’d think. Masters degrees build on existing skills and knowledge, introducing more advanced concepts and placing a greater emphasis on independent learning. Our advice would be not to let yourself feel intimidated by the prospect of a Masters, instead see it as a welcome opportunity to challenge yourself.
We all know that life experience counts for a lot, and you might want to spend some time working on your practice (or simply working) after you finish your BA, it’s entirely up to you.
Yes, we offer informal one to one sessions where you can chat to our experienced academic staff about the courses we offer and what is right for you, whatever your situation.
We actively encourage you to book one of these chats, because even if you’re not quite sure about which course you want to do, this is your first opportunity to start to develop a professional relationship with our staff. We’ll contact you to organise this after you’ve made your first enquiry, or you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to make an appointment.
We welcome applicants who want to continue paid employment alongside studying at postgraduate level, and we offer full-time and part-time study options. Our MA programmes combine self-directed study with taught delivery. A full-time student would need to commit at least four days per week to their MA study, whilst a part-time student should commit at least two days per week to study, so you will need to consider whether your work commitments will allow you enough time to study.
MA Creative Education graduate Florence Newsome said,
“I studied a part time MA at Plymouth College of Art, which meant I had to be on campus on a Thursday for study time. The rest of the week I was able to commit to my part time job and found that if work commitments came up at short notice, the college was very helpful and flexible with this.”
The course fees for students vary depending on whether you are a UK resident or an EU/International resident. Part-time study is available on most of our postgraduate courses, so fees will reflect whether or not you are studying full or part-time. Look at MA fees on our dedicated page.
Yes, you can get funding for postgraduate study through loans, studentships, bursaries and grants - you might also get help from your employer.
If you’re starting a master’s degree, you could get a Postgraduate Master’s Loan to help with course fees and living costs. You can get up to £11,222 if your course starts on or after 1 August 2020.
Our academic staff are always available to help and support their postgraduate students. Being part of our close-knit postgraduate community means that you’ll get to know your lecturers and fellow students on a first name basis, really quickly. Our academics have dedicated office hours where you can book in 1:1 catch ups with them as regularly as you like. They are able to assist you with the transition into postgraduate study – helping you get to grips with studying and learning more independently.
Specialist technicians are available in all areas of study, with many of them working as practising artists in their field of expertise - from ceramicists to filmmakers, jewellers to photographers. You can book inductions for any of the workshops and equipment on campus no matter what you study - from our dedicated Fab Lab to our Glass Workshops.
Each module has approximately 22 hours delivery attributed to it, which is when you will be in a seminar with your Module Leader and cohort. In addition, you are able to book 30-minute tutorials with your MA Subject Tutor or other Postgraduate staff across the year. We also host regular crit sessions and Postgraduate Talks that all MA students can benefit from attending.
Full-time students are allocated a permanent studio space/desk to work. Part-time students will have use of a non-permanent ‘hot desk’ space in an appropriate area (a studio or seminar space) to work while they are on campus. We do have space to store tools and equipment when you are not on campus. Plymouth College of Art also has bookable library spaces, or communal areas like the Refectory which offer options for solo or group learning.
Materials are provided in taught technical workshop sessions, but not for individual student research. In many of our LABs you will find a supplies shop where you can purchase what you need directly from our technician team. There are also a range of suppliers in Plymouth, from specialist arts and crafts shop The Art Side - just a few minutes walk away from our Tavistock Place building - to Plymouth Scrapstore and Hobbycraft.
At Plymouth College of Art, we understand that postgraduate students are instinctive activists and collaborators, keen to explore and progress their creative practice through research, inquiry into social and commercial contexts.
During the course of your studies, you will also have access to college-wide resources which include workshops, project spaces, and our library whether you are a full-time or part-time student.
Alongside specific skills taught and supported within your programme, college resources are open access for all students. We encourage mobility across subject areas and the development of interdisciplinary practice.
Yes! Our Workshop Wednesdays are a great way to ease yourself into all of the different facilities and equipment we have available and are the perfect opportunity to broaden your skillset.
So what are Workshop Wednesdays? At Plymouth College of Art, every Wednesday is an extracurricular day, where our students are free to explore creative skills outside their usual programme of study.
Students choose from a rich, rolling menu of workshops led by our excellent technical staff, offered free of charge, with everything from CV writing and job search workshops to glass bead making and Adobe Indesign sessions on offer.
Workshops and LABs throughout the college not only support timetabled curriculum delivery but also provide open access to students at all levels throughout the week (subject to availability) who want to further develop their skills.
These activities are designed to enhance your curriculum but will not be explicitly connected to academic and assessed learning.
Come along to an Open Day, online or in person. Open Days provide a great opportunity to chat to staff and current students about the course you’re interested in and what it’s like studying at Plymouth College of Art - book your place.
Prefer a 1 to 1 chat with a lecturer? Get in touch with us at email@example.com to book an informal discussion.
Start your application. You can apply for the course you’re interested in by clicking on the Apply Now button situated on the top left-hand side of each specific course page on our website.
As part of the application, you will be asked to provide digital images of your work, and to submit a short Application Statement. If you meet the entry requirements, we will get back to you within three weeks of receiving your application to invite you for an interview.